Netball cap­tain wanted gold so much

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By ABBY BROWN

Casey Kopua didn’t wear her sil­ver medal for very long after the Com­mon­wealth Games, her mum Joanne Wil­liams said, be­cause ‘‘it was not gold.’’

The Sil­ver Fern cap­tain was dis­ap­pointed she couldn’t lead her team to a third straight gold medal at the Games.

‘‘I said to her ‘ think of ev­ery­one who had to walk away with noth­ing’,’’ Wil­liams said.

Be­ing at the Games made Wil­liams re­alise how much pres­sure Kopua was un­der.

‘‘It hit you how the whole na­tion was de­pend­ing on your daugh­ter to walk away with gold.’’

This was es­pe­cially true dur­ing the tight game against Eng­land.

‘‘When it got to an even score I nearly left the sta­dium.’’

Wil­liams re­ceiv­ing tick­ets had helped her daugh­ter.

‘‘It was great to support her. We told her where we would be in the stand and she found us and gave us a lit­tle wave. I think it was re­as­sur­ing for her to know her mum was in the stands.’’ Kopua’s hus­band, Terry, man­aged to get away from his Hamil­ton law firm and at­tend the last pool game, the semi-fi­nal and fi­nal.

Be­fore the games, Wil­liams would dis­tract her daugh­ter by talk­ing about the fam­ily and how many cows her hus­band, Mur­ray, had calved on their Mata­mata farm.

Af­ter­wards she would dis­cuss the game with her a bit, she said.

‘‘We go over and say ‘why didn’t they do such and such’ but she is very pro­tec­tive of the play­ers and won’t let any­one bad mouth them which is a good thing, she sticks up for them.’’

Both Wil­liams and Kopua recog­nise that for a netball team to do well ev­ery­one must fire at the same time.

‘‘If she plays well then that’s num­ber one, but as it’s a team sport not ev­ery­one will play well at the same time.’’

Dur­ing the pool games, Wil­liams was seated close to the ac­tion but dur­ing the fi­nal she was seated so far back that she couldn’t get emotionally in­volved and cheer on the team.

‘‘It was like be­ing seated in the top seats of the Vec­tor Arena.

‘‘Be­ing at the top seats you could not yell so it felt surreal.’’

Wil­liams and Kopua’s hus­band com­mis­er­ated with the dis­ap­pointed team at the New Zealand house after the fi­nal, which New Zealand lost 58-40.

‘‘If they win I am there to cel­e­brate with them, if they lose I am there to support them,’’ Wil­liams said.

Kopua and Terry man­aged to fit in sight-see­ing in Eng­land and a hol­i­day in Thai­land after the Games be­fore the net­baller was back to train for five games against Aus­tralia and two against Eng­land prior to the Fast Fives tour­na­ment.

Photo: ABBY BROWN

PROUD MUM: Joanne Wil­liams with the Com­mon­wealth Games mas­cot Clyde the this­tle and her daugh­ter Casey Kopua’s sil­ver medal.

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